P1ppa's history-making pole win? "A nice place to start."

Pippa Mann, the first female pole position winner in the 101-year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo: PippaMann.com)

I like Pippa Mann. I'm not going to deny it.

Why? Well, there are plenty of reasons I could list, but the main one is that she's human.

She's not a brand, she's not the "face" of anything (other than her own career), and she doesn't have an entourage.

What she does have is talent, speed and a very British determination to be modest and cordial as hell - even when she makes history.

Driving the #11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Firestone Indy Lights Series car, Mann turned in a two-lap average speed of 187.989mph to become the first woman in the 101-year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to win a pole position for any event at the storied track.

Her reaction, posted on Facebook, says just about everything you need to know about the likeable Brit: "Obviously kind of looking forward to tomorrow (the Firestone Freedom 100)," she wrote. "Pole's a nice place to start."

It's that kind of understatement that is so appealing about Pippa. Like the best of her peers she prefers her interactions with fans to be in the first person. Her persona is that of an everyday person doing something extraordinary as a profession, but it doesn't feel forced or artificial.

But her partnership with Sam Schmidt Motorsports may end up making this everyday girl into a star. The team has won four of the past six Freedom 100s (including last year's) - not to mention the fact that only once has a Freedom 100 pole-winner not won the race - so Pippa could end up making even more history tomorrow.

"I didn't expect the car to be that fast in clean air," she said after qualifying. "I knew I had a fantastic car in traffic, but I was quicker than I thought I would be in clean air. I'm really, really excited. 

"I have a car that I can drive inside, I have a car I can drive outside, I have a car that likes the dirty air, I have a car that likes to be out front."

We have news for you, Pippa - we like seeing you out front too.

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